Google+ Jess Metcalf, Author at Southern Weddings

Southern Weddings

Author: Jess Metcalf

While the biggest moments on your wedding day are the ones between you and your groom, we also have a soft spot for the moments that naturally occur when you’re surrounded by your sisters and your best girlfriends. Chances are, these ladies have seen you at your best and at your worst (middle school, anyone?), and it’s such a sweet comfort to know that even as you enter a new stage of life, they’ll always be there for you. We love when brides go the extra mile to make sure their bridesmaids look and feel beautiful, and we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite looks from 2016 below!

Erica’s mismatched long blue dresses from The Dessy Group (photo by Anna Shackleford)

Caroline’s long pastel bridesmaid dresses by Joanna August and Nouvelle by Amsale (photo by Kristin Kilpatrick)

Brent’s navy one-shoulder bridesmaid gowns by Amsale (photo by Anna Routh)

Nicole’s kelly green Alfred Sung bridesmaid dresses with black and white bouquet ribbons (photo by Jennifer Blair)

Peyton’s vibrant red White Lace & Promises dresses with fur stoles (photo by Finch Photography)

Caroline’s teal, aqua, and petal pink bridesmaid dress combination (photo by Lexie Bush)

Katie’s Anthro forest green short dresses with chocolate shawls (photo by Lauren Carnes)

Sarah’s gauzy, white eyelet bridesmaid dresses by Cate Lyon (photo by Rach Loves Troy)

Veronica’s long glam bridesmaid dresses (photo by Ashley Cox)

Last but certainly not least, Ally’s sweet, traditional flower girls (photo by Kati Mallory)

Anna Shackleford, Kati Mallory, Anna Routh, and Kristen Kilpatrick are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory and Joanna August is a wonderful Southern Weddings sponsor!

Written with love by Jess Metcalf
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A few weeks ago, the SW gals gathered for a favorite Southern Weddings’ tradition–our annual Gingerbread Barn Building Competition. This was the sixth year inviting our friends to join us for a night of barn-building and hot cocoa-drinking at the Carolina Inn!

Big thanks to Ally and Bobby for spending the evening with us and capturing these wonderful images you see below!

If you can’t tell from above, Christmas at the Carolina Inn is simply magical! So magical, in fact, that our very own Kristin couldn’t miss out on a second Gingerbread Barn Building event in a row! She surprised us with her lovely face and ooh and ahh at the Christmas decor alongside us!

We are grateful for our dear friend and Blue Ribbon Vendor, Randi of Sugar Euphoria, for providing the icing everyone used on their barns! This stuff was barn building gold, and it made for some of the tallest and most structurally-sound barns we’ve seen yet (three story structures!)

Each team dove right in when the competition began, and you could feel the excitement in the room as we strolled around to see plans, blueprints and designs begin to unfold! I must say, being a judge certainly takes some of the pressure off!

I wouldn’t be a true UNC alum if I didn’t mention the lovely replica of the UNC bell tower. Between KNW and myself, we must’ve taken three dozen photos to send to our beaus who are fellow UNC grads. If you look closely enough, there was even a Ramses made out of marshmallows. Be still my heart!

This group may have been some of the most creative builders we’ve seen yet! Herringbone pathways, pretzel chandeliers, and beautiful hand-letting covered in sprinkles–the ideas seem to get better each year!

We loved hearing the story behind our Honorable Mention Best Story winner’s barn below! Each tiny home was created by a different member of their team, and had a matching story to go with it!

Each creation we saw was not only beautifully executed, but had a darling story to match it! After much deliberation, we handed out the grand prize award to a sweet group of ladies who created the beautiful snow-covered creation you see below, complete with a sweater-wearing reindeer!

We also passed our four Honorable Mentions–Most Festive, Most Architecturally Creative, Most Creative Story, and Most Structurally Sound–to other builders! Y’all certainly didn’t make deliberations easy this year!

Thank you so much to all our friends who joined us at this year’s competition, and to The Carolina Inn for hosting us all–we can’t wait to see what y’all come up with next year! Happy holidays!

Written with love by Jess Metcalf
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  1. avatar Bri A reply

    These are so beautiful! I think I need to up my gingerbread game. And the marshmallow Ramses — consider this UNC alum in love!

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The SW ladies are big fans of Southern traditions, and we love hearing how real couples incorporate them into their big day! Liz and Scott buried a bottle of bourbon before their ceremony to keep the rain away, but the weather had a different plan! When they had to use a tent her outdoor ceremony at the last minute, Liz’s mother and her friends were able to turn the rain plan into a work of art using trees, plants and flowers from her parents’ mountain home. It may not have been part of the original plan, but I think we can all agree when you scroll down that it was the perfect backdrop for Liz and Scott’s “I Do’s.”

No amount of flowers, however, could take away from how effortlessly beautiful Liz looked in her lace applique gown and matching veil. Liz, not only were you a beautiful bride, but you were a beautiful birthday girl as well!

Big SW hugs to Blue Ribbon Vendor Julia Wade for sharing this sweet day with us!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met freshman year of college at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, eleven years before we would finally become girlfriend and boyfriend. During our freshman year, we grew to be great friends and were frequently each other’s date to events like cocktails and formals, but we never formally “dated.” We remained friends through college and afterwards, and there was always a lingering “what if” question. When Scott graduated from business school, he moved to NYC, where I was living. After more than a handful of fateful run-ins on the street, subway platforms, etc…we decided to grab a drink together. We’ve been inseparable since then!
Tell us all about the proposal! After work on Thursday, August 20, we went for a bike ride on the West Side Highway in New York. We decided to take a break at one of the piers; it was there that Scott pulled out the ring and started to propose, only to be interrupted by an unaware lady who was cleaning the area! With headphones in and music blaring, she had no idea that she had just interrupted him mid-proposal. When she finally walked away, we burst out laughing and he finished asking. It was a perfect New York moment.
When did y’all get married? May 21, 2016 (my birthday!)
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 260
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I searched high and low for a wedding dress in New York, but unfortunately, never found anything. My sister, who lives in Oregon, was also engaged at the time, so my mom and I flew out to Portland to spend a weekend wedding planning and dress shopping with her. At her first appointment, she found her dress, so she encouraged me to use the remaining time at her appointment to look for mine. I ended up finding the one there as well! It was a pretty surreal experience to be standing in a store in Portland next to my sister in our future wedding dresses!
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did not do a first look. We wanted the first moment we saw each other to be captured in front of our friends and family at the ceremony.
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We knew we wanted to get married in North Carolina and loved the idea of getting married at a place filled with activities for our guests, so the mountains were a natural fit. People enjoyed golf, hiking, fishing, etc. throughout the weekend. It also helped that my parents have a home at Grandfather Mountain and Scott grew up only a few hours away in Charlotte.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had two readings at the wedding. The first, Song of Solomon 2:10-13, was from the Bible and was read by one of my oldest childhood friends, Tim Rees. The second was a poem called “Wedding Song” by John G. C. Brainard–we found it in a wedding book that was given to the my maternal great-grandmother on her wedding day in 1915–101 years earlier!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Scott’s a music lover, so we spent a lot of time thinking about the music for our wedding. We wanted to keep things pretty classic and traditional, but we did spice things up a little bit too. Our recessional was to Paul McCartney’s “Maybe I’m Amazed.” We wanted our first dance to be romantic and slow, as well as something that our band could knock out of the park, so we picked Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald’s “Dream a Little Dream.” It was perfect with our big band full of horns! My favorite, though, may have been the father/daughter dance. My dad and I love to dance together and wanted to do something fun, so we danced to the Fine Young Cannibals’ “She Drives Me Crazy”–it was a total hit. The crowd loved it, and we were smiling and laughing and catching our breath from the fast pace!
Describe your wedding flowers. Our wedding flowers were gorgeous! My mother is a fantastic gardener with an encyclopedic knowledge of plants and flowers, so I really leaned on her to help! We wanted them to be a little whimsical and natural, and not too polished. We used a mix of white peonies, ivory garden roses, green and white parrot tulips, berries, delphinium, anemone, thistle, and even lavender. Our ceremony was supposed to be outside, but due to weather, we had to use a tent. Luckily, with the help of my mom and her friends, we were able to turn a traditional, last-minute white tent into a thing of beauty. My parents were just about to re-landscape their entire yard at their mountain house, so we used the trees, plants, and flowers they had intended to use as decor. We had FULL trees and rhododendron plants inside the tent! It was gorgeous and so special to know that their yard is now filled with the plants that were used to decorate our ceremony. The rose petals used by the flower girl and thrown by friends and family during the recessional were all collected from my mother’s garden in Chapel Hill.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We ended up having three cake options! Our wedding cake was chocolate with a buttercream frosting. Our second cake was a funfetti birthday cake with sparkler candles for me! The third option was carrot cake pops.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I was able to knock out my borrowed, blue, and old in one go. My godmother lent me a family ring that has been in her family for generations. It’s a beautiful art deco sapphire and diamond cocktail ring. My shoes, dress, and everything else were new!
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We buried a bottle of bourbon about six months before our wedding. I can’t believe we were actually able to find it on our wedding day, but it definitely worked! The weather report was calling for five inches of rain, but we only experienced a few little showers in the morning, with gorgeous sunshine the rest of the afternoon and evening.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? We loved all of our vendors. We used local vendors for absolutely everything, from cake, to flowers, to catering, to makeup and hair. I loved supporting the people in the town where we were married. Besides, locals know best! My favorite vendor was P.S. Plum Social, which is owned and operated by Clarence Mills. She created all of our paper goods, from invites to menu cards, ceremony programs, our wedding logo, our welcome packets, and much, much more. She hand-paints everything and does incredible custom designs!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Our ceremony. We spent a lot of time planning the actual ceremony and it was beyond what I could ever have imagined.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Relax and don’t regret or second guess the decisions you make. It will be beautiful no matter what!

Photographer: Julia Wade Photography | Planner: Events by Elizabeth Ashley | Venue and Caterer: Camp Yonahnoka at the Eseeola Lodge | Florist: Callista Designs | Wedding Cake: Christina Banner Cakes | Band: Big Blast and the Party Masters via East Coast Entertainment | Special Details: The British Taxi | Paper Products: P.S. Plum Social | Bride’s Gown: Liancarlo | Hair and Makeup: Beautiful Bride on Location | Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J.Crew | Groom’s Attire: Freemans Sporting Club

Julia Wade and East Coast Entertainment are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

Written with love by Jess Metcalf
1 Comment
  1. avatar Liz & Scott's Eeseola Lodge Wedding – Julia Wade Photography reply

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